As a budding solo traveller and desperate hot-weather seeker, I travel at least once a year, but never have I thought to stop at an airport lounge. I’ve always dismissed it as a perk only for the elite or business class — a mysterious nook for the frequent flyers among us, those with extra money to spend before takeoff. But, I can’t say I haven’t been curious about what lies behind those doors.
It was that curiosity that brought me to the Plaza Premium Lounge, nestled conveniently right outside of the chaos that is Terminal 1’s domestic departures security checkpoint. After being yelled at by security (“LAPTOP OUT OF YOUR BAG”) and rushing to get my coat back on at the end of the conveyor belt, being whisked away to the lounge was a welcome change of pace.
As I walked through the doors, I was immediately greeted by luxury and light. I felt like I had just stepped into a spa, greeted by smiling faces and the promise of relaxation. It hardly felt like I was still in Pearson Airport, known for its frustrating travel delays and traveller dissatisfaction. Sprawling 4,900 square feet, the lounge had something for everyone, but most of all, a place for peace and social connection.
@slicedotca this lounge is what pre-flight experience dreams are made of ✈️ #travel #toronto #pearsonairport #airportlounge #plazapremiumlounge ♬ original sound – Tik Toker
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A paradise for any traveller
One of the first things I noticed was that my image of the typical person who visits an airport lounge was completely off. I saw all kinds of people — families, solo travellers, groups of friends. It quickly dawned on me that the lounge was accessible to the average person. There were no business suits or Louis V carry-ons, just regular people looking for an escape before their escape. Access to the lounge comes as a perk with select credit cards, but anyone can get in by paying a $59 CAD fee for two hours, giving them freedom to sit at the full-service bar, indulge in freshly made meals from cuisines around the world and enjoy the lounge itself.
Lounge in luxury
So, what is a lounge, anyways? Imagine comfortable seating in every kind of set up, from cozy communal couches to plush enclosed chairs that offer the privacy to work or catch some zzz’s. Soft lighting and high-end design make the experience an opulent one, complete with WIFI, charging stations and even showers. The fully stocked bar is the perfect place to strike up a conversation with a stranger or start your vacation early by pounding back some drinks. Why wait in long lines for food and drinks in an overcrowded terminal, when I can relax in all this? I envision myself as the rich, travelling aunty of my family — becoming a regular in this lounge will surely bring me to my final form.
The experience gets even more VIP
Off to the right of the entrance is a closed off section for even more privacy. The newly added VIP area offers guests an escape from the bustle of the lounge with reserved seating, snacks and a dedicated bar for an additional $19.99. Here, I made myself comfortable, chatting up other guests and overlooking the terminal from above with a drink in hand. You never know who you’ll meet in the VIP of an airport lounge. I let myself romanticize the moment.
Airport lounges aren’t for the fancy or pretentious. They’re for people who want to elevate their travel experience, remove themselves from the stress of travel and get back to social connection. If you’re looking for rest relaxation, it’s available to you even before takeoff.